5 pieces of health news you may have missed because of the Coronavirus pandemic
Did you know a recent study found a way to revert heart damage caused due to a heart attack?
For the past three months now, coronavirus has literally taken over the world (both real and virtual). It is hard to find a single piece of news or even a conversation that does not involve the virus in one form or another. Terms like social distance, sanitize and quarantine are all one can hear and read at every turn.
However, while we are busy battling the pandemic, there are many other conditions that the scientific community is still working on. For instance, did you know a recent study found a way to revert heart damage caused due to a heart attack?
Here are five pieces of health news that you may have missed because of the coronavirus panic.
1. Stem cells that repair heart damage in heart attack
A team of researchers at Mayo Clinic's Center for Regenerative Medicine have found in a preclinical trial that introduction of cardiopoietic stem cells can revert the negative effects of heart attack and bring the heart to the pre-damage state.
Your heart uses the same mechanism to heal from a heart attack - only at a smaller scale. The extent of damage in case of heart attack is so much that it is usually hard for naturally-occurring cardiopoietic stem cells to heal it to a huge extent.
The Mayo Clinic team found that the additional introduction of cardiopoietic stem cells completely reversed the damage. In a press report, Dr Andre Terzic, director of Mayo Clinic's Center for Regenerative Medicine and an author of the study, said that if this works as well in humans the scope of stem cell therapy would greatly improve.
2. A vegetarian diet may reduce the risk of stroke
A recent study done in Taiwan suggests that if you have a vegetarian diet, you may have a much lower risk of getting a stroke.
Strokes are one of the leading causes of mortality in the world. According to the World Health Organisation, one in every four people are at risk of getting a stroke in their lifetime. A stroke occurs when a blood vessel (artery) inside your brain bursts or somehow gets blocked. High blood pressure, obesity, diabetes and high cholesterol are some of the modifiable risk factors of stroke.
A vegetarian diet can help control all of the above risk factors. As per the study, a vegetarian diet reduces your risk of getting hemorrhagic (burst blood vessel) stroke by 65% and ischemic (lack of oxygen) stroke by 60%. Overall a 48% reduction was found in the total stroke risk with a vegetarian diet.
3. Low serotonin leads to dementia and Alzheimer’s
A study done at John Hopkins University said that reduction in the levels of the transporter of your happy hormone - serotonin - can cause dementia and put you at risk of Alzheimer’s. Serotonin is also a neurotransmitter (transmits signals between brain cells) responsible for regulating your mood, sleep-wake cycle, appetite and your memory.
In previous studies, it has been shown that Alzheimer’s patients have low levels of serotonin neurons, though the cause and effect were not known. However, after the latest research, John Hopkins' team says that it is a reduction in serotonin that causes dementia and not the other way round.
In a news release by John Hopkins, Dr Gwenn Smith, the author of the study explains her research. She said that in most cases, anti-depressants are given to Alzheimer’s patients to manage symptoms. However, since these anti-depressants work on serotonin transporters (which are reduced during Alzheimer’s) the drugs don't work as effectively.
4. A lens for colour blindness
Colourblindness is a group of conditions which affect a person’s ability to perceive and distinguish between colours, particularly the shades of red, green and yellow. Colour filtering glasses were already available in the market - they are thought to provide some relief in colour perception. Now, two engineers from a University in Israel have developed contact lenses using the colour correcting films. Currently, the lenses are in the lab and showing promising results.
5. Loneliness can increase your risk of inflammation
Dr Kimberley J.Smith, a lecturer of Health Psychology at the University of Surrey, UK, and her team have found, through a systemic review and meta-analysis, that loneliness and social isolation increases the levels of certain inflammatory markers in your body, which can lead to systemic inflammation. Inflammation is a normal response of your immune system against infections and injuries. However, chronic inflammation or systemic inflammation (when inflammation spreads to the whole body) can be an underlying cause of various diseases including diabetes, and heart disease. This further reinforces the importance of healthy and regular social contact and support systems.
For more tips, read our article on Inflammatory disease
Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health.
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